Grant helped PDI LLC relocate

Published 7:00 am Saturday, June 27, 2020

Power Dynamics Innovations LLC is the first business in Pearl River County to receive an ACE Grant from the Mississippi Development Authority.

The grant is for $200,000. Grant funds assisted PDI with relocating to Picayune and with some of the costs of renovating the building, said managing member Carl Liberty. The Pearl River County Board of Supervisors was the local sponsor for the grant.

To fulfill the grant agreement PDI will have to invest at least $500,000 and create 20 full time jobs in addition to the 46 full time positions it had when it relocated to Picayune.
PDI is a custom manufacturer that relocated from Stennis to Picayune in 2019. The company performs work for various industries including oil companies, construction companies, dredging companies and infrastructure projects like bridges or tunnels, said Liberty. Current projects include manufacturing wenches, repairing hydraulic pumps and building centerboards for three research vessels that will be used to map the ocean floor.

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The company has a staff of engineers, a fabrication facility and a mechanics facility.
Picayune was chosen as a new location for the business after its lease at Stennis was not renewed. The move to Picayune made commuting to work easier for the company’s employees. The company completed a study before moving from Stennis that showed employee spending on items like lunch or gas brought $150,000 to the area, said Liberty.

The building PDI moved into began as a coffee can factory, before becoming a produce facility. It sat vacant for three years before PDI moved in, said Liberty. The grant funds helped PDI convert the refrigerated produce warehouse into a fully functional shop, which posed a challenge, he said.

A room full of coolers had to be emptied and the space needed to be functional for welding, mechanical and electric work. Although the facility did have plenty of electricity, it was in all the wrong places, Liberty said.

PDI began 2019 with 38 employees, had grown to 46 employees by the time it was awarded the grant and was up to 59 full time employees by the beginning of 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic reduced full time employees down to 44, said Liberty. However, business has still been active and the company is always looking to hire people for different positions, such as qualified welders, and typically seeks employees who are mechanically inclined, along with hiring engineers and electrical staff, said Liberty. The majority of its electrical staff came from Pearl River Community College, he said.

Bringing businesses into the industrial park helps create local jobs and grows the value of a mill in relation to tax revenue, said County Economic Developer Blaine LaFontaine.

“Our purpose is to continue to grow our mill value and help increase jobs for our current generation and our workforce and to create an environment that allows people to live work and play all within our county,” said LaFontaine.

PDI has applied for exemption from county ad valorem taxes, except school district taxes and mandated levies, for the next 10 years.